Here is a list of books etc. for the many parents out there who have been watching the events unfolding from the murder of George Floyd on the news, with their kids, and are looking for springboards for further conversation. When Tabitha recently bought and read through ‘Martin Luther King’, the latest addition to her ‘Little People Big Dreams’ collection, she commented that he had been brave, like Rosa Parks, but why are the same problems still with us? Did the changes last? No straightforward or yes/no answers to those questions, but some history helps (so quite a bit of historical fact/fiction below). Most of the history below is that of the African diaspora in the Western Hemisphere, but other peoples’ struggles are included too.
Educational Psychologist and dad to Tabitha and Marlow
ps: thanks to my EP colleagues Sara Darchicourt and Hannah Lichwa
A story of resistance to injustice that all schoolchildren will relate to. Suitably scary, given that it’s based on events in post-war Canada that aren’t much discussed in the UK, but resolves itself in a satisfying ‘Home Alone’ type victory over the Trunchbulls (via phonics).
A whole community’s inspirational resistance, convincingly written from a child’s point of view.
Helpfully busts the myth that there’s no prejudice in the playground.
At bedtime there’s something reliably bonding and reassuring about stories where someone is lost and then found. Much as I also like the Little People Big Dreams Harriet Tubman book, this cleverly turns history into a classic lost/found tale. If ‘When I Was Eight’ might be offensively anti-clerical for some, this is unashamedly happy-clappy, but unlikely to offend many atheists.
It’s often hard to explain to adults that the imagined borderline where one race stops and another starts is socially constructed and not scientific fact. This explains the basic notions behind that thought to children, with disarming simplicity: everyone’s got skin; nobody’s skin is exactly like anyone else’s. And what’s not to like about the NYC block party we’d all like to be at right now in the finale.
Thank you to the several Little Spree parents who recommended this for Marlow. He devoured it. And understood it too.
Recommended by Tabitha
Classic Nazi-bashing (we don’t want them back, do we?) and the first novel Marlow read all the way through. I loved it as a child. Also interesting for what it leaves out (some events in WW2 Poland were still shielded from children in the 1950s). Honourable mention to When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, one of Tabitha’s favourites.
A Film For Year Five/Year Six Kids
We watched this as a family on recommendation from a Little Spree reader. We all loved it: funny; sentimental in a good way; doesn’t pull punches.
Essential. Accessible to younger children, but, though this is above all about non-violent resistance, the violence from the other side is potentially nightmare-inducing for primary kids, including those who might be playing Call of Duty on the sly. If anything on this list is able to explain recent events, this comes closest.
Later Teens & Young Adults
Spike Lee’s ‘Malcolm X’ is Spike Lee’s best movie, many of us think. A good watch. Source material is: